Blue Skies & Green Juices
Today is day two in Valdivia and much to everyone’s surprise, the sun is shining and the skies are perfectly blue. From what I have been told, such conditions are a rare occurrence this time of year (I’d like to think that I brought the warm, June NYC sun with me). Knowing that this could very well be the only sunny day I experience during my trip, I decided to venture out for lunch in beautiful Isla Teja. Although my meal was absolutely delicious and cruelty-free (see picture!), it is what I gathered about the community that made my experience worth sharing.
In public health, a great deal of time is invested in reviewing literature, collecting data and keeping up with epidemiological trends. While such methods are undeniably pertinent to any successful public health intervention, today I gained a very valuable piece of evidence elsewhere: a local vegetarian restaurant called Ama Café y Resto Vegitariano.
After days of what felt like I had been carbo-loading for a marathon, I decided it was time to recharge- I needed something green! When I arrived at Ama, I was a little taken aback to see that there would be a wait for a table. At first disappointed, I soon came to realize that if a vegetarian restaurant was so crowded at midday during the week, that must mean there are a great deal of Valdivians who are either 1) animal lovers, 2) very health conscious or 3) both! When conducting a program evaluation, a central question to consider is whether or not the target audience will be receptive to the program’s mission. Whether the diners at Ama were choosing to eat there because it is cruelty free or simply because they are health conscious individuals, it seems as though each one would certainly support the work being carried out by the GAAP. Community members are key stakeholders because the GAAP’s success will depend largely on their cooperation and participation. After my meal at bustling Ama, things are looking quite promising in terms of community engagement!
That said, it hasn’t been all green juices and adorable restaurants- in the past three days tons of exciting things have been happening at the clinic! In fact, just this morning Elena received the exciting news that IDEXX Laboratories has just signed on as a sponsor. They will be providing the clinic with new tools and technology to better serve our patients. Dani and Connie are currently performing surgeries on two feline patients and later this afternoon I will be building a ‘hierarchy of effects’ with the entire staff. This is a powerful tool in public health that, along with the logic model, acts as a roadmap for program activities and outcomes. I look forward to sharing the content as we continue to move further along with our evaluation. Adios de Valdivia!